PASTRY CUTTER PEAR & RHUBARB FLAN
Last christmas my good friend CJ brought me a pastry cutter for creating a lattice effect after we watched a cookery show with baked apples in lattice pastry and I’ve spent the entire year feeling guilty for not using it. That is until now of course. With a tree full of pears in the garden and a love of all things rhubarb, I combined these two great ingredients to make a Pear and Rhubarb flan for tea and thus christening my lovely pastry cutter (these are the kind of things one get’s excited by with the onset of middle age!).
The cutter is a breeze to use. The hard bit is first making the pastry!
I’m a hot-handed person meaning that by rights I should be great at making bread as the heat from the hands helps with the kneading and terrible at making pastry which needs to be lightly handled with cool hands. That said, I am gradually finding a newfound love affair with the art of pastry making as the end result is so much tastier then shop bought and I love the rustic look that can be achieved.
For this flan I used a recipe for sweet flan pastry from my now much leafed through Michel Roux cookery book.
Ingredients: (For pastry) 250g plain flour, 125g softened butter chopped into small chunks, 1 egg, 1 tsp caster sugar, sprinkle fine salt, 40g cold water (For Flan) 2-3 stalks of rhubarb and 4 pears, water, 1 tbsp brown sugar, icing sugar and mint leave for decoration
Preparation: 25 mins + 35 cooking time
1. Firstly prepare the pastry by laying the flour out on a clean surface and creating a well in the centre.
2. Add the egg, butter, sugar and salt to the well and cream the ingredients together using your fingertips.
3. Draw the flour into the centre and mix with the butter mix to form a grainy texture than add in the water and mix until the dough begins to hold together.
4. Do not knead the dough as it should be handled very lightly. Using the palm of your hand, push the dough away from you 4-6 times until it is smooth, then wrap in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge until ready to use.
5. Chop the rhubarb stalks and peel and slice the pears.
6. In a pan, add 1cm of water and bring to the boil with the tbsp of brown sugar. Add in the fruit and gently poach for 5 mins until nicely softened.
7. Leave to cool and absorb any remaining liquid. You don’t want the fruit to be dry but equally you don’t want it too wet as it will make the pastry soggy.
8. Take your pastry and roll out to fit a 9″ flan tin saving 1/10 of the dough to create the lattice work to top the flan. Gordon Ramsey has a technique to start the rolling where you use the rolling pin to first press the dough flat and make it more even before you then roll it to size. This is a great way to avoid breaking the dough by over touching / rolling it.
9. Lay the fruit mix onto the pastry and spread evenly.
10. Roll the remaing pastry and using the pastry cutter create the lattice work to top the flan.
11. Bake in the centre of a hot oven at 190C for 30-35 minutes or until the pastry looks golden in colour.
12. Leave to cool and then sprinkle with icing sugar and top with a mint leaf to serve.